Andy Dalton's Knee Injury Reportedly Not Believed to Be Torn ACL by Bears

Paul KasabianSenior Contributor

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton looks to pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton did not return after suffering a knee injury in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that the team doesn't believe it's a torn ACL and that the quarterback will get an MRI.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Dalton may have a bone bruise:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From @GMFB: A closer look at the #Bears QB situation now that Andy Dalton has injured his knee. https://t.co/InmvzH7UIj

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

More on #Bears QB Andy Dalton: The initial exams did show no ACL tear and no damage to the MCL, source said. MRI today, but the early diagnosis of bone bruise would show he dodged major injury. That would be good news considering what it looked like at first glance.

Dalton went down in the first half on a scramble. He briefly returned to the game but was later taken out in favor of Justin Fields. Dalton completed nine of 11 passes or 56 yards and a touchdown before exiting.

The 33-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler playing in his 11th NFL season and first with the Bears. He spent his first nine seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and led the team to the playoffs from 2011 to 2015.

The Bengals then went in a different direction after the 2019 season, and Dalton ended up signing as Dak Prescott's backup for the Dallas Cowboys. He was thrust into the starting role, however, when Prescott suffered a season-ending compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle on Oct. 11 against the New York Giants.

Dalton completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns, eight picks and 6.5 yards per attempt. He was removed from his team's Oct. 25 game against the Washington Football Team after suffering a concussion following a hit from linebacker Jon Bostic. He missed the team's next game against the Philadelphia Eagles before sitting an additional matchup versus the Pittsburgh Steelers because of COVID-19 protocols.

Dalton started the rest of the way, though, and the team went 4-5 in his nine starts. After the season, he signed a one-year, $10 million deal to be the Bears' QB1.

The Bears soon drafted Ohio State superstar signal-caller Fields with the No. 11 overall choice as Dalton's heir apparent.

The future is now for the Bears and Fields, who completed 30 of 49 passes for 276 yards and two scores and rushed for 92 yards and another touchdown in three preseason games.

Fields led the Buckeyes to the 2019 College Football Playoff semifinal and the 2020 College Football Playoff national championship. In his two seasons starting for OSU, Fields completed 68.4 percent of passes.